After witnessing the complete domination of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team in Rio, it’s a logical question to ask—which gymnasts will step up as the next generation of American champions? Let’s take a look at some of the top prospects waiting in the wings!
Morgan Hurd burst onto the gymnastics scene in 2014 at the Nastia Liukin Cup, captivating audiences with her balletic artistry. Since her J.O. days, Morgan has steadily risen to the top junior ranks, placing 5th in the all-around and 3rd on uneven bars at the 2016 P&G Championships.
Deanne Soza battled back from a serious eye infection in 2014 to return to the sport she loves, finishing 8th at the 2016 Secret U.S. Classic. She recently moved from her longtime gym (Arete Gymnastics) in Utah to Texas Dreams. Deanne is a fabulous all-arounder with an exciting bars routine—look at her Bhardwaj transition and full-twisting double layout dismount!
Trinity Thomas has incredible power—just take a look at her first pass in this routine! Trinity gained big recognition at 2016 P&Gs due in large part to this routine. She placed 6th in the all-around and 6th on balance beam at P&Gs, and we can’t wait to see wait 2017 holds for Trinity!
Emma Malabuyo’s whimsical, lyrical style on floor exercise is breath of fresh air. Although she won’t be a senior until 2018, this Texas Dreams gymnast is already a standout on the elite stage—she placed 2nd in the all-around at the 2016 Secret U.S. Classic.
Gabby Perea of Legacy Elite has continued her gym’s remarkable legacy on uneven bars, finishing first on bars at the 2016 Jesolo Trophy and 2016 P&Gs. Her beautiful lines are reminiscent of Nastia Liukin:
Shania Adams is from Buckeye Gymnastics, the same gym that currently coaches Gabrielle Douglas. She won the 2016 P&Gs beam bronze and finished fourth in the all-around. Take a look at her beam routine, where she demonstrates lovely flexibility:
Jordan Chiles has been a major force in the junior international competitions since 2014. Her powerful style literally vaulted her to the top of the junior ranks—she has a strong Amanar vault and won the junior all-around title at the 2016 Jesolo Trophy. She’s currently recovering from a bone bruise sustained in June 2016, but look for Jordan to be back in 2017.
Maile O’Keefe is the reigning P&Gs junior all-around champion – certainly a huge accomplishment for a 14-year-old! Although Maile won’t be a senior until 2018, she already has highly impressive skills, such as those shown in her 6.3-valued beam routine. Here’s her gorgeous floor routine:
Riley McCusker is the latest rising star from MG Elite, the same gym that produced 2016 Olympic Champion Laurie Hernandez. 2016 was Riley’s breakout year—and also her first year as a junior elite. She made a bold statement with her 2nd-place finish at P&Gs; she also won silver medals on bars, beam, and floor! Check out her precise work on balance beam:

Irina Alexeeva is a Russian-born gymnast who trains at WOGA in Plano. Her score of 15.100 (6.3 D-score) on beam at the 2016 Secret U.S. Classic was a massive number for a junior. Her elegant lines and technique are very much in the WOGA tradition, and she will definitely be one to watch in the future. Unfortunately, Irina is currently ineligible to compete for the USA because she has yet to acquire U.S. citizenship—but hopefully by the time she turns senior in 2018, she’ll be able to represent the U.S. internationally.

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Anna Rose Johnson writes about women’s artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. She loves Whippets, brownies, and full-twisting double layouts. Her writing portfolio can be viewed at: